The Whirly Girls robotics team have recently formed a JV and varsity team from the several new additions to the team who have joined.
The previously exclusive team has expanded “tremendously”, according to team coach and sponsor, Jill Whitacre. Before this year, the all-girls drone team consisted of around seven girls. These girls are now ninth-graders and make up the varsity team. This year, however, they have adopted around a dozen eighth-grade girls.
“We don’t want it to just die with [varsity Whirly Girls],” Whitacre said. “And the younger girls want to do it.”
The JV members join the varsity girls on Friday mornings, where they are provided help and assistance with the drones.
“So we have a middle school and a high school team now. The older ones are teaching the younger ones,” Whitacre said. “If you can teach somebody, then your knowledge is solid, nobody is going to take that. It also gives them leadership skills.”
Freshman Anylah Rembert, known as the “drone-whisperer” within the team, is happy to help teach the new members of the Whirly Girls how to properly use the drones and provide them with the skills necessary to do so.
“We need more girls in engineering and it’s nice to be in a leadership role to teach people new stuff that they’re interested in,” Rembert said.
The varsity members are especially happy to provide the JV members the assistance that they never received when they first joined the team.
“It’s really cool because when we first started it was hard,” Grace Mendese (9) said. “We didn’t really have anybody who knew what to do to help us, so it’s cool to see how much they can progress with our help.”
The JV members show gratitude to the aid supplied by their mentors.
“They did this last year and they were at the same level as us, like we didn’t know what to do and what problems there were,” Nishna P. (8) said. “They’re helping us through it, which is nice of them. It takes a lot of patience because there are a lot of things that go wrong with the drones. They take their time with it and explain it to us, which I feel is really nice.”
Said Whitacre: “It’s something new and it’s going to be interesting to see what they do with it. I’m excited to watch them grow the program.”
By Aytek Abdulla